Laura’s Vegan Caramelized Onions

Let me just start with saying that I loveeeee caramelized onions. It is kind of ironic in a way because my father is super sensitive to smells and often wouldn’t allow onions to be cooked in the house. If you’re thinking, “man, what a sad thing,” you’d be right. But, as soon as I moved in with Josh, I started really digging into my love of onions again. I would always order something at a restaurant if it had caramelized onions on it. I never really knew how to make them, but now, I do, and boy it is so easy.

Naturally gluten-free, caramelized onions add such a depth of flavor and richness to a dish. Perfect for a burger, mac and cheese, with steak, quiche, and more. Let’s dive into how to make caramelized onions!

Tip: Caramelized Onions and Sautéed Onions Are Not the Same

The big difference between the two is the amount of time the onion actually spend in the pan. My recipe for caramelized onions is a pan recipe, however, there are some who prefer to make theirs in a slow cooker and or in the oven. Sautéed onions will brown up in the pan in a few minutes and retain a lot of their sharp onion flavor whereas caramelized onions take quite a bit longer, and have a more caramel and sweet flavor when they’re finished.


  1. 3 onions (I like vidalia onions)
  2. 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  3. 2 tablespoons of oil – pretty much any oil will work here. Some oils are likely to burn faster such as olive oil, so, using a canola, vegetable, and or grapeseed might work best for you.
  4. Kosher Salt!

Why No Butter in This Recipe?

This recipe allows those with dietary restrictions to also enjoy caramelized onions! It’s vegan (no animal products of any kind), gluten-free, dairy- free, egg -ree, nut-free, and still delicious. It’s also keto-friendly! This recipe is not suited for anyone on a low foodmap diet as onions and garlic both contain fructans and are not recommended as part of the keto diet.

Troubleshooting: Why Won’t My Onions Caramelize?

It’s possible that you’re using the wrong kind of oil. Oils like Olive Oil and Peanut Oil have a tendency to burn a lot faster. It’s why they’re not used as a deep-frying oil. It’s also possible that you have your burner too high. Each oven is different, and I know that’s super frustrating. (I have an oven that tends to differ from regular suggested temperatures.) But it’s important to make sure that the onions never go above medium. Caramelized onions are a labor of love and take time when you’re making them on the stove.

How Do I Store My Caramelized Onions?

They’ll keep in the fridge for 4-5 days! So, you can definitely make them in advance. You can also freeze them! Store in an airtight container and or plastic bag.  I definitely recommend that you defrost it in the fridge over night before you plan to use them.

Looking for Something Similar?

This recipe for me is definitely a blending of sweet and savory. Check out some similar recipes!

Butternut squash salad click here
Fish Soup click here
Summer Quiche click here
Moroccan Salmon click here
Mediterranean Orzo click here

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 4hours hrs 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

For full recipe and instructions go to Sift.

One comment on “Laura’s Vegan Caramelized Onions”

  • Max says:

    Good troubleshooting tips; I love carmalized onions but realize I have mostly been making sauteed onions. I really appreciate your attention to dietary differences as well!

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